Page 115 - December2018
P. 115

peppers  merchandising review
The Six Pillars Of Selling More Peppers
Focusing on a few areas of best practice helps retailers increase sweet pepper sales year-round.
olored sweet peppers are a reliable staple in produce, and retail can continue to add pro t year-round with a few key merchandising tech-
niques. “Pepper sales are consistent all year,” says Jimmy Coppola, account manager at Westmoreland-TopLine Farms in Leaming- ton, Ontario, Canada. “ ough weather can create shortages or oversupply can be a fac- tor at other times, as long as stores keep the demand up with proper ad placements and proper pricing strategies, the supply during peak production periods moves through seamlessly.”
Peppers are a good sell all year long agrees Mark Cotê, produce merchandiser for Redner’s Markets in Reading, PA, with 43 Stores. “ ere’s really no season for peppers,” he says. “But we do see some seasonal di er- ences. When there is an abundant harvest, it
can lower the price because supply/demand comes into e ect. Weather factors can also make a di erence in marketing. And in summertime, we may sell more because of use in salads or grilling.”
New products in the category stimu- late consumer interest. “ e pepper cate- gory continues to be driven by specialty and hothouse varieties, such as the sweet mini peppers and sweet-colored bells,” says Chris Ciruli, chief operating o cer for Ciruli Brothers in Rio Rico, AZ. “Production-wise, there is a growing trend for peppers produced in protected structures.”
Keith Cox, produce category manager at K-VA-T Food Stores in Abingdon, VA, with 130 stores, reports pro table changes in the sweet pepper category include new packaging, availability and retails on colored peppers being similar to a green pepper. “And, mini sweets have become a hot trend in the pepper category,” he says.
Over the past 10 years, specialty peppers have grown in use and acceptance, agrees Randy Bailey, president and owner of Bailey Farms in Oxford, NC, growers of Bella-  na Baby Bell and Minisweet Peppers. “Consumers have become more adventurous in their eating habits and incorporating more
diverse  avors into their dishes,” he says. “Planned promotions timed with key holidays or other key time periods will de nitely help increase sales. Tailoring the pepper assort- ment to the store demographic and properly merchandising also helps sales.”
One of the best tools retailers have at their disposal for merchandising sweet peppers is their color. “Green is still the main color sold,” says Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing for Fresh Farms in Nogales, AZ. “But red, yellow and orange colors are growing in popularity, too. Normally for the colored-pepper ratio, we ask growers for 65 to 70 percent red, then 15 percent of orange and yellow.”
Havel estimates approximately 70 percent of bell peppers marketed are green and about 30 percent red, with a smaller percentage of yellow and orange  lling out the mix.
At Redner’s, the traditional green pepper has taken a back seat to the colored peppers, says Cotê. “Whether the Rouge from Mexico or the hothouse Holland peppers, colored peppers have really gained in popularity and are getting a lot more advertising.”
Ciruli says mixing colors in a display

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